Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran would fiercely resist US attempts to undermine its role in the Middle East as a date set by President Donald Trump to bring the country under new pressures draws near.
Trump has said a nuclear agreement with Iran does not address the country’s role in the Middle East and its missile capabilities and has threatened to leave it next week if the accord is not “fixed.”
In a speech in the Iranian city of Mashhad Monday, Rouhani repeated his warning that the US will regret a decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“If they want to make sure that we are not after a nuclear bomb, we have said repeatedly that we are not and we will not be … but if they want to weaken Iran and limit its influence whether in the region or globally, Iran will fiercely resist,” he said.
“Today we are telling the world that if you are worried about Iran’s access to nuclear bomb, we have completely allayed this concern in the JCPOA and the deal ensures that Iran does not seek nuclear weapons.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also warned that Tehran’s “fierce reaction to a violation of the nuclear deal with major powers will not be pleasant for America”.
“Quitting the JCPOA will definitely lead to the isolation of the Americans in the international arena. So the Americans will not benefit from such a decision.”
The top diplomat said Washington has already violated the landmark accord, indicating that the US is not reliable.
“The Islamic Republic has so far observed the JCPOA and is serious about it, but the Americans did not adhere to the deal which is indicative of their unreliability,” Zarif said.
He also said a possible withdrawal from the agreement is one of the options Iran is considering.
Iran’s interests, he said, must be guaranteed in the agreement. Tehran will “definitely respond appropriately” to any US attempts to put economic pressure on the country.
Trump has repeatedly threatened to abrogate the nuclear agreement by not extending the sanctions waivers when they expire.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said Monday if Trump decided to pull out of the deal, Iran’s response would be “painful” for the US.
The Americans “will pay a heavy price for leaving the nuclear agreement,” he said, adding the US would lose the trust of the world nations.
Iran, he said, will not be the first party to violate the JCPOA and once the agreement stops to be profitable to the Iranian nation, “we will take the necessary decisions”.